5 Steps of Progressive Employee Discipline
When an employee’s behavior requires corrective action, DePersia advised that progressive discipline is crucial. Don’t ignore employee problems, she said. Instead, take control of the situation, lean on your company’s policies, and make it clear that you expect improvement.
During her session, DePersia outlined the five steps of progressive discipline, including:
1. Verbal Reprimand
This is appropriate for the first violation. It can be casual, with no formal documentation. Identify the violation and communicate the corrective action. For example, “Hey Joe, you were late today. I really need you to be here on time.” Send yourself an email noting the date/time and the details of the reprimand for future use.
2. Verbal Warning
This is for the second violation and can be semi-formal. For example, “Hey Joe, we’ve talked about it once already, but you were late again today. Is there something going on?”
Listen to the reason for the poor performance. If it’s reasonable, how can you help? (For example, if their bus scheduled changed, they may need their shift to start a few minutes later than in the past.) If not reasonable, review the violation, the corrective action needed, and the next steps in the disciplinary process.
Document the warning, but you don’t need to get the employee’s signature on it. Use the same language for similar counseling to ensure consistent corrective action among different employees.